Romantic Duets by “Chitalkar”

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C. Ramchandra (born Ramchandra Chitalkar), as we all know, was one of the most popular composers in Hindi cinema during the late 1940s and the 1950s. He was one of the stalwarts who were instrumental in shaping up the golden era of Hindi film music. His style was original. He composed in his unique style many toe-tapping numbers based on western music as well as many euphonious romantic and soulful numbers based on Indian classical music with equal proficiency. His music thus kept on appealing the fans of western music as well as the lovers of Indian melody.

C. Ramchandra was well-known for composing the songs very quickly – give him the lyrics and his tune would be ready in a few minutes! Besides, he himself was a good singer. Though he used most of the then leading singers in his songs, he himself has rendered a good deal of his own compositions – both solos and duets – under the name “Chitalkar”.

Though his voice was not as malleable as Mohammed Rafi, as energetic as Kishore Kumar, as velvety as Talat Mahmood or as classically steeped as Manna Dey, it did not sound out of place for the playback either. His voice had a unique tone and texture, due to which it suited well for funny songs, romantic songs as well as melancholic compositions.

Let us glance through a few romantic duets that he has rendered with some female singers.

1. Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon (Patanga – 1949)

This evergreen duet sung by C. Ramchandra and Shamshad Begum remains popular even today. The lyrics are penned by Rajinder Krishan. The song is filmed on Shyam and Nigar Sultana.

2. Wo Hum Se Chup Hain (Sargam – 1950)

This duet with Lata Mangeshkar shows a playful banter between two lovers. It is written by Pyarelal Santoshi and filmed on Raj Kapoor and Rehana.

3. Ulfat Ke Jadu Ka Dil Mein Asar Hai (Sangram – 1950)

A duet with Lata Mangeshkar, showing aquatic romance between Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaiwant, written by Brajendra Gaud.

4. Shola Jo Bhadke (Albela – 1951)

A foot tapping duet with Lata Mangeshkar, that continues to appeal even the Gen Z. In this peppy number, C. Ramachandra came up with an amazing fusion. Cabaret type choruses and western instruments like bongo, oboes, clarinets, trumpets, saxophone etc. were employed with the Indian melody. What’s more, Hawaiian and African sounds were also used in the song. And the effect is evident – the charisma of the evergreen song remains undiluted till date.

Of course, not to miss the other romantic duets from AlbelaMere dil ki ghadi kare tik tik, Shaam dhale khidki tale and Ye deewana ye parwana; and the bantering duet Bholi soorat dill ke khote.

5. Balkhati Ithlati Aayi Hai Shaam (Jhamelaa – 1953)

A duet with Lata Mangeshkar from the Geeta Bali – Bhagwan Dada starrer film, written by Rajinder Krishan

6. Teri Nazron Ne Hum Ko Chheda Hai (Baraati – 1954)

A flirtatious duet with Asha Bhosle, the lyrics of which are penned by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

7. Kitna Haseen Hai Mausam (Azaad – 1955)

An adorable song from one of C. Ramchandra’s best albums, Azaad, sung with Lata Mangeshkar. The soundtrack was composed in a record time of two weeks, and yet all the songs are so mellisonant and unforgettable! As the film was being made in Chennai (then Madras), the music team was also put up there. C. Ramchandra had composed this song keeping in mind Tala Mahmood as the co-singer with Lata Mangeshkar. However, Talat Mahmood could not make it to Madras in time for some reason, and C. Ramchandra decided to record the song in his own voice with Lata Mangeshkar. Perhaps that is why his voice sounds Talat-esque in the song. The tragedy king Dilip Kumar and the tragedy queen Meena Kumari are seen in a pleasant mood here. The song is written by Rajinder Krishan.

8. Kehte Hain Pyaar Kisko (Baarish – 1957)

A mellifluous song sung by C. Ramchandra and Lata Mangeshkar, filmed on Nutan and Dev Anand. Rajinder Krishan is the lyricist.

There is one more Lata Mangeshkar – C. Ramchandra duet in this film, again written by Rajinder Krishan.

The brief prelude of this song reminds us of the Lata solo “Aankhon mein sama jaao” from Yasmin (1955). Rajinder Krishan much later wrote another song using the same meter – “Phir wahi shaam, wahi gham, wahi tanhai hai”, which was composed by Madan Mohan for Jahaan Aara (1964).

9. Achchha Hai Mauka (Sharada – 1957)

A romantic duet with Asha Bhosle, filmed on Anita Guha and Agha, written by Rajinder Krishan.

A few other noteworthy romantic duets sung by the magician of music are:

  • “Laga hai kuchh aisa nishaana” – with Lata Mangeshkar (Sipahiya – 1949)
  • “Aji aao muhabbat ki kha le kasam” – with Amirbai Karnataki (Shehnai – 1949)
  • “Chori chori tumse mulaqat hui” – with Lata Mangeshkar (Jigar – 1949)
  • “Jhoom rahi pyaar ki duniya” – with Lata Mangeshkar (Hangama – 1952)
  • “Dekho ji dekho mera dil le ke dagha nahin dena” – with Lata Mangeshkar (Jhamelaa – 1953)


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